Category: escape rooms

What Escape Rooms Teach Us About Life

Escape rooms are becoming more and more popular forms of entertainment for families, friends, and team-building. These immersive experiences allow participants to solve puzzles and riddles in order to escape a themed room within a certain amount of time. While they may seem like a fun way to spend an hour with friends, escape rooms can also teach valuable lessons that can apply to both personal and professional life.

Lesson #1: Communication is Key

One of the most important lessons that escape rooms teach is the importance of communication. In order to solve the puzzles and escape the room, participants must work together and communicate effectively. This means actively listening to each other, sharing ideas, and asking for help when needed. In the real world, effective communication is essential in both personal and professional relationships. By practicing communication skills in an escape room, participants can apply these skills to real-life situations.

Lesson #2: Attention to Detail is Critical

Escape rooms are designed to be challenging, and often require participants to pay close attention to details in order to solve the puzzles. This means looking for clues in unexpected places, examining objects closely, and thinking outside the box. In real life, attention to detail is also critical. Whether it’s noticing a typo on a report, or catching an error in a financial statement, paying attention to the small details can make a big difference.

Lesson #3: Collaboration Leads to Success

Escape rooms require a great amount of teamwork. While individuals may solve puzzles on their own, the overall success depends on the ability of the group to work together. This means playing to each other’s strengths, sharing information, and supporting each other throughout the process. In the real world, collaboration is also essential. Whether it’s working on a team project at work or volunteering with a community organization, success often depends on the ability of the group to work together towards a common goal.

Lesson #4: Perseverance Pays Off

Escape rooms can be frustrating, especially when participants get stuck on a particular puzzle. However, those who persevere and keep trying are often the ones who succeed in the end. This means staying focused, not giving up, and trying new approaches when old ones aren’t working. In the real world, perseverance is also important. Whether it’s pursuing a difficult goal, overcoming a setback, or simply pushing through a challenging project, perseverance can lead to success.

Lesson #5: Creative Thinking is Key

Escape rooms challenge participants to think creatively and come up with unique solutions to problems. This means thinking outside the box, trying new approaches, and not being afraid to take risks. In the real world, creative thinking is also essential. Whether it’s coming up with a new business idea, solving a difficult problem at work, or simply finding a new way to approach a project, creative thinking can lead to innovative solutions.

Life is an Escape Room

We recently had the opportunity to meet the authors of a great book, Life is an Escape Room, Christina and Jeff Eanes, and they invited us to be on their new podcast. Our episode, “What to do when emotions are high”, was released today! If you’re interested in more about how escape rooms can teach life lessons, check out their book, and the podcast.

Introducing Kids to Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become a popular activity for people of all ages, and it’s no surprise that kids love them too. Escape rooms are a great way to challenge your children’s problem-solving skills, and they can be a fun family activity. However, escape rooms can be challenging for kids, especially if they have never done one before. Here are some tips to help your kids in escape rooms.

Check the escape room’s policy on kids

At Trapped, we love kids! We have designed our rooms to be player friendly, give clear rules, and offer gentle corrections. But many escape room companies will not allow children at all, even with a parent. If you’re looking for a place to bring your children, research the facility and find out their age limit. No one wants to arrive and get turned away. You also want to make sure the themes are kid-friendly, and note any variables like live actors or rooms described as creepy or scary. You know your kid the best, and even if they are allowed in the room, they may not want to stay in it (I know this from experience, unfortunately).

Start with an easy room

Escape rooms can be overwhelming for kids, especially if they are difficult. Some places (like our friends at Urban Escape Games in the ATL area) have a kids escape room that young children can play alone (with an in room game master) while the parents play their own game! But most escape rooms don’t have rooms that are specifically for kids.

But most escape rooms have a beginner game with a lower level of difficulty. While they may still need the help of a parent or older teen, these rooms have puzzles and challenges that are easier to solve, and the themes are usually kid-friendly. Our beginner room is a hit with kids of all ages.

Work together

Escape rooms are all about teamwork, and it’s important to work together to solve the puzzles. Encourage your kids to work with each other, and help them if they get stuck. You can also divide the room into different areas and assign tasks to each member of the family. We give our kids puzzles we don’t like as much that are easier to solve, like jigsaw puzzles, mazes, or other physical tasks.

We also try to include them when possible in what we are doing, although sometimes they don’t quite understand the logic. As they do more rooms, they will learn more, and don’t underestimate the ability of an 8 year old to see something the adults totally missed!

Use hints

Escape rooms usually give you hints when you are stuck on a puzzle, and it’s important to use them. If your kids are struggling, ask for a hint. This will help them progress through the room and build their confidence. It’s also an important life lesson that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes. Your pride can lead to failure (in this case, no escape).

Stay positive

Escape rooms can be challenging, and it’s important to stay positive. If your kids get stuck on a puzzle, encourage them to keep trying. If they start to feel frustrated, take a break and come back to the puzzle later. I’ll admit, this has been hard sometimes, especially when our daughter is breaking down crying because she randomly gets scared for no reason. But we find it helps to have a pep talk before the game and go in together as a team with a plan.

Have fun

Escape rooms are supposed to be fun, so make sure your kids are enjoying themselves. Don’t put too much pressure on them to solve the puzzles, and remember that it’s not about winning or losing. Escape rooms are immersive experiences just as much as they are games. Enjoy this device-free time with your family as you travel to a different time and place. The hour will go by faster than you think!

In conclusion, escape rooms are a great family activity that can help your kids develop problem-solving skills. By starting with an easy room or a special kids escape room, working together, using hints, staying positive, and having fun, your kids will have a great time in escape rooms.

How to Save Money on Escape Rooms

Wondering how to save money on escape rooms? If you’ve ever booked and paid for an escape room, you know how expensive it is. It’s not a cheap hobby to get involved with (but so worth it!). Escape rooms are also astoundingly expensive to build. The price variability in escape room creation is wide, but our rooms cost approximately $15-25K to build and install (not including our own labor of love).

Those escape rooms that look like movie sets? Those can cost up to a quarter of a million dollars to build! So the prices you pay an immersive experience are derived from the astronomical expenses of not only building them, but staffing them, and keeping them looking fresh each day by maintaining them. It’s not a cheap hobby, but it’s also not a cheap business venture.

That all being said, there are some things you can do to save money while getting out there and playing as many games as you can. It may just mean you have to visit in ways that benefit the business, rather than what’s most convenient.

Bring more players with you

The easiest way to save money on escape rooms is to bring more friends and family! For the majority of escape rooms in the US, the price per player decreases as more players are added. For example, our 2 player price is currently $41.99 per player while our 5 player rate is $30.99 per player. Why is that?

Well, the cost to run the room is the same whether you have 2 players or 8. But the revenue difference is $83 vs. $242. So it’s easier for us to give a discount for a big group because we can still turn a profit. It actually COSTS us money to have a full day of 2 player bookings due to having staff there to run all of the games. We have this pricing structure so we can continue to offer private bookings where you only play with your team.

Choose your timing for public games

Speaking of private games, not all escape rooms are private. Especially more elaborate (i.e. expensive) games in tourist areas. They have solved the dilemma of 2 person bookings by allowing FOUR 2 person bookings to play ONE 8 player game at once.

But if you’re like us, you have no interest in playing with strangers that may or may not be: rude, drunk, anxious, children, etc. The only problem is, to make the room private you have to spend a pretty penny. Anywhere from $250-400, just for 2 people to play alone.

Our trick is to go at obscure days or times (Tuesday at 10am anyone?), wait to book until the last minute to make sure no one else has booked, and then secure the booking 5-10 minutes before start time. You may have to call or walk-in to book this last minute but it’s worth it. It helps out the facility too. They want to book every game but can’t allow 2 people to take it off the schedule when a team of 8 or 10 may want it. So your last minute booking assures they don’t miss out on the income. It’s a win-win!

Be patient, follow social media, and sign up for emails

Every escape room has a slow season (or slow days/times), and it’s during those times you’re most likely to get an email offer or see a social media post with a discount code. The escape room slow season is typically the first half of the year and you’re more likely to see coupons at that time. During the Summer and Holiday season, escape rooms are slammed, so you’ll probably only see coupons for certain events like Black Friday.

If you follow your favorite companies on social media, and make sure you’re signed up for their email lists, you won’t miss out on any specials or promotions.

Look out for beta testing opportunities

Before new rooms open, we test them to make sure the puzzles make sense, the props work, etc. We call this beta testing and different companies vary on how much beta testing they do before making a room live. Again, you’ll want to sign up for emails and social media because those are the places you will find beta testing opportunities.

Beta testers often will be able to play the room for free. But keep in mind the room will be new, and will likely have a few kinks. This is what beta testing is for. So if you are lucky enough to be a beta tester, your experience will probably not be that smooth. Things may not work properly, the decor may not be completely finished, puzzles won’t flow as well. You’re sacrificing a little of the experience to get the game for free.

Also keep in mind that you’re not just playing to enjoy the experience. You’re playing in exchange for honest feedback and opinions. The creators ask you a series of questions and you’re must think about this feedback the whole time you’re playing. It is a big responsibility to test new escape games so you need to prepare yourself!

Suggest escape room teambuilding to your boss as a team-building activity

Ok, it may seem a little selfish, BUT many employers are really stress over finding great team-building activities that people actually enjoy. You might casually tell a story about how you and your friends had a real challenge at an escape room once but you came together and were able to talk about your unique contributions over dinner afterward.

Just a subtle “hint”, if you will. 😉

But if your boss needs more convincing, I’ve written a whole post about escape room team-building here. You and your co-workers get to play a fun game together and YOU got to do it on your boss’s company credit card. Another win-win for everyone!

Accept you have an expensive hobby and cut costs elsewhere

Sometimes you really just have to suck it up and cut costs elsewhere to fund your addiction hobby. We have done this especially on vacation where there are so many options for activities. Yes, we may have to skip out on other things we wanted to do because it doesn’t all fit the budget, but we knew that when we started playing escape rooms that they cost more than other activities.

It may also mean spacing out your games and not doing marathons. Spacing out games and doing them for special occasions means you can budget for them, and it also means you don’t run out of games in your area as quickly. The waiting may be tough, but if that’s what fits into your lifestyle, then that’s how it is.

These are just a few ways you can save money on escape rooms while still enjoying an exciting, challenging, and stimulating hobby with your family and friends. Share any other tips in the comment section and happy escaping!

The Psychology Behind Escape Room Behavior

Do you want to be a part of an immersive adventure experience with your family and friends? Do you want to challenge your mind while experiencing excitement and mystery?

If your answer is “Who doesn’t?” then escape rooms are the perfect activity for you. Since they came to the U.S. in 2012, escape room games have become more and more popular among friend groups, corporate team-builders, and families. There are so many applications for these games.

But have you ever wondered about the psychology behind these kinds of experiences? What makes them work? What makes them predictable? And more importantly, what can we learn from them?

Well, as your resident psychotherapist-gone-escape room owner, I’m here to de-mystify that very topic. You see, there is quite a bit that goes on underneath the surface when a group is playing an escape room game. While this list isn’t all-inclusive (because what is, really?), it does offer a little bit of insight into the gameplay, and maybe a little insight into life. 😊

When people can’t figure out what to do next, they seek more and more information to the point of confusion.

This one is my personal favorite.  According to the theory of information bias, when we are trying to make a decision, we generally seek data on which to rationally base the choice. Where this goes wrong, is when we assume that ALL information is useful, and that ‘more is better’.  Sometimes, extra information adds no significant value and just leads to confusion.  This is especially true in the world of escape room games. 

I can’t tell you the number of times players have everything they need to solve a puzzle (even multiple puzzles) but they continue to search for additional information. This is one reason we do not allow flashlights in our games. They tend to be a distraction from what the players really need. Players might hyper focus on a dust bunny in the corner (for SHAME gamemasters), thinking it’s some sort of clue. They don’t notice the big obvious sign in the middle of the room that does not require a flashlight to be seen that indicates what to do next.

When you’re not sure where to go next, revisit what you have and what you haven’t used yet…or maybe even ask for help!

People tend to work on things they feel competent to do and ignore tasks they feel are too difficult. 

According to cognitive evaluation theory, when looking at task, we evaluate it in terms of how it will or will not make us feel competent and in control. If we think we can accurately complete the task, we will be more motivated to complete it, requiring no further external motivation. 

We see this often in escape room players.  There is a particular puzzle in one of our rooms that involves colored boards (I won’t give it way) that seems far more complicated than it is.  At the point in which these boards are discovered, it is very apparent that the players have all the required parts for the next clue, yet it seems to take them forever to start working on the puzzle. 

A common test taking technique is to skip questions that require more complication and come back to them later, so your brain doesn’t get so scrambled that it errs on easier questions.  In linear escape rooms this is impossible to do.  To progress in the game, you must solve one puzzle before you are physically able to do the next.

The best way around this is to have someone with that skill set work on that particular puzzle.  If you don’t have a player with that forte in your team, just remember that most puzzles are based on logic and try the simplest answer first.

Players want to feel like they are progressing through the game.

Endowed progress effect posits that when people feel they have made some progress towards a goal, they will become more likely to continue working towards achieving the goal.  To clarify, they don’t have to make progress.  They just must believe they are making progress.  The corollary is that people who feel they are not making progress will be more likely to abandon efforts. 

This effect is painfully obvious when players are working through their escape room.  There comes a point in time where all the players are standing still and just staring at each other or around the room in silence.  Sometimes, if there’s a chair in the room, they will simply sit down.  It’s clear to see that people are giving up.  They feel hopeless and lost. 

Then the glorious sound of the gamemaster hint comes across the screen, gives a clue, and everyone is back up and moving again.  The easiest way to avoid the Endowed Progress Effect is to use your gamemaster.  We are here to assure you don’t give up.  Let us help you feel progressive again!

The minority opinion in a team can convert the majority.

I wrote an article about the type of players that can derail an escape room team, and one of those players was “Debbie Distractor”.  This player comes up with some convoluted logic and completely convinces the team to stop solving the puzzle they are working on to do something totally nonsensical.  This can be attributed to what is known as conversion theory, which states that the minority can have a disproportionate effect, converting many ‘majority’ members to their own cause.

Why does this happen?  Usually it is because the majority members do not fully believe in what they are doing (their “cause”) or because it is just easier to go with the minority in that moment.  In an escape room, no one is always sure that they are on the right track, so it is relatively easy to convince them to go in a different direction, even if it makes no rational sense.

While it’s usually a good idea to get input from all players, it’s also important not to get too distracted before the idea you are currently trying has been fully vetted.  Of course, you can also ask your gamemaster if you’re on track.

People try to solve new puzzles in the same ways they solved previous ones.

There is something called the representativeness heuristic that says that we judge the probability of an event by finding a ‘comparable known’ event and assuming that the probabilities will be similar. In short, we need to classify things. If we encounter something new or different that doesn’t fit into our current knowledge, we go with the closest thing we do know.  In escape rooms, this is seen when a puzzle is solved around a certain item (like a photo), and then when another puzzle including that item is encountered, players assume that they will solve it the same way as the first, even though there is no indication that will be the case. 

While there is some consistency in types of escape room puzzles, a good player will approach each puzzle or task as its own separate event, rather than assuming anything from prior events, no matter how similar.

These psychological theories and phenomena are not only for escape rooms, but for how the human brain makes sense of things in general. Knowing them will not only make you a better player, but it will help you understand the world and the people around you. And when you’re ready to put your team to the test, be sure to book a room with us and see what psychological effects you notice!

We’ll be here to guide you either way.

Why Escape Room Games Make a Great Date Night

Escape room games can be a great idea for a date night, whether it’s the first date or the 500th. Since the COVID pandemic, many people have been searching desperately for something that is safe and fun, and escape rooms have answered the call.

There are many reasons why we love to do escape rooms together as a couple, but here are a few of our top reasons.

They are great ice-breakers

A first date can be intimidating to anyone, and you may worry about what you’re going to talk about. Nothing can destroy a date like a night of staring at each other awkwardly with nothing to say. An escape room will give you an opportunity to work on something together to promote conversation (and maybe a little flirting!).

They are way more exciting than dinner and a movie

Escape rooms are a memorable experience that will stay at the front of your memories for years to come. If you want a date to remember, an escape room will serve that purpose. You’ll even get to take a photo after your game to remember this special experience. After all, why would you want to watch a movie when you can feel like the star of one?

Us at Kingdom Escape Games in Key Largo, FL

They promote teamwork and collaboration

An escape room date will give you the opportunity to work with your partner in a novel and fun way. To complete the game and escape the room, you’ll need to communicate with one another, get help from one another, and use your brains. This will give you a chance to appreciate how you complement one another, as different puzzles require different type of knowledge and skills. And don’t worry about feeling stupid, the puzzles require no outside knowledge, and your gamemaster will be there for you if you get stuck!

They allow you to escape reality

Relationships are difficult sometimes, especially with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Playing an escape room on date night will allow you the opportunity to relax and “escape” together, as you are immersed in a whole other world. Take off the hat of parent, employee, caretaker, etc. and put on the disguise of a magician or detective. An escape game will be a genuine diversion from your worries and will allow you to connect as a couple.

Things to remember if you choose an escape room for your date night:

  • It is just a game! Don’t take it too seriously and just enjoy the experience together. Winning the game isn’t nearly as important as having a great time.
  • Communication is key. Remember to share all of your thoughts and ideas as you are playing so nothing is overlooked.
  • Remember that some games are easier when played with a larger group. Your room may be more challenging with only two players. If you have questions about what room is right for you, contact us!
  • Photos are not allowed inside the rooms but make sure you snap a pic after your game. Post on social media and cherish for years to come.

We would love to host you for date night at Trapped in the Upstate. If you’d like to know more about our rooms, give us a visit at Happy dating!

6 Common Escape Room Misconceptions

When you hear the term “escape room”, a variety of images and ideas may come to mind.  Escape rooms have become more and more popular in the U.S., but the mystery they require to entertain the masses has also led to a host of misconceptions that may have deterred you from trying them out.  

This post describes some of the most common myths we have encountered in our discussions of escape rooms, and the truth behind these engaging games.

I’m concerned about being locked in a room.

One of the main concerns shared with us regarding escape rooms is the anxiety of being locked in a room.  The good news is, you will NOT actually be locked in!  Escape room games are just that—games.  Part of the fun is pretending you are locked in and attempting to “escape” but the fact of the matter is, the fire marshal will not let us actually lock anyone up (sorry for those of you who were hoping for the thrill of being trapped!).  

You can leave your game at any time, whether it’s to answer the call of Mother Nature, to take an emergency phone call, or just to get a breath of fresh air.  When you’re ready, you can return to the game and continue your quest!

I’m afraid I’ll be claustrophobic.

If you can go to a doctor’s appointment without being claustrophobic, you will be fine in an escape game.  Our rooms are the size of a doctor’s office (in fact, our building used to BE a doctor’s office).  While some games may require one team member to crawl through a small space, that will be communicated in the game description.  We want everyone to have a safe and fun experience.

If you have concerns about anxiety or claustrophobia, please reach out for questions or communicate this to your game master.  We can alert you to any potential issues and/or offer an alternative activity for your game.  And remember, you are free to leave the room at any time, for any reason.

I don’t want to look stupid if I can’t complete the puzzles.

Escape rooms are in the business of creating fun, not making people look stupid!  None of our puzzles require any prior knowledge.  It’s about thinking outside the box, using your deductive reasoning skills, and teamwork.  All ages and levels of physicality can participate in our escape room games.  The puzzles are designed to be tricky, so there is no reason to feel stupid even if you get tripped up.

In the event that you get stuck on a puzzle, your game master is more than happy to provide you with a hint or clue to get you moving again.  We love to see people escape, and we’re always here to help you as you play your adventure.

I’m not a fan of haunted houses or scary themes.

While some of our escape games are “spooky”, we are not a haunted house, nor do we aim to be.  Nothing will jump out at you, and no one will be in the room with you.  We appreciate haunts for the entertainment they provide, but escape rooms are a unique experience.  Any games with spooky elements will be described on the website and on the booking page.

I don’t have a big enough group of people to play an escape room.

Escape room games can certainly be easier when you have multiple people with multiple viewpoints playing together.  It’s also a lot of fun to work together, get to know one another better, and celebrate as a team.  Our rooms make for great team building adventures, but they do not require more than 2 people.  We would love to host your date night or family fun night, even if you just have 2-4 players.  It just makes the challenge even more satisfying!

I’m worried that my kids can’t play with us.

We love kids at Trapped in the Upstate!  Our kids play escape rooms with us often and they love them.  While older kids (10+) may be more helpful in solving puzzles, kids of all ages can appreciate the immersion and excitement of opening locks and entering secret chambers!  Any elements of our rooms that are more “mature” or spooky will be included in the room description, and if you have any concerns about whether or not your room selection is age appropriate, we would be happy to discuss them with you prior to your experience.

We are confident that anyone and everyone can play and enjoy an escape room, and we are open to any other questions you have.  Simply give us a call or text at (864) 406-6246 and we can suggest a room that will fit the needs of your team.  We are here for you every step of the way and we cannot wait to share our passion with you!

To learn more about escape rooms, click here!

What Are Escape Rooms?

The idea that inspired escape rooms originated in Japan in 2004 as a point-and-click video game. In 2007, the Japanese company SCRAP opened the “Real Escape Game”, which took off in Asia and Europe. The first escape game in the US opened in 2012 in San Francisco, and the rest is history.

Since 2012, the US escape room industry blossomed to more than 2,250 escape rooms as of August 2020. This popular date night/family fun/team building trend isn’t going anywhere either. Puzzle minded individuals and organizations all over the world are working hard to create new storylines and games.

So what exactly is an “escape room”?

It starts with a story–a script defining the objective of the game and what you’re trying to accomplish. You start in a room that is meant to immerse you into that story line. Think about it like being part of a movie set, with decor and ambiance that makes you feel like you’re really part of the adventure.

This room has objects, puzzles, locks, and hidden clues for you to find. Once your 60 minute clock starts, the game is all yours. You and your friends and family will search through the room for any clues that allow you to complete your quest. Each clue and puzzle solved will lead to more clues and more puzzles. If you’re lucky, and your team works together, you’ll be able to complete the quest and “escape” the room, which is a feeling unlike any other!

And don’t worry, you’re not really locked in. You can totally leave at any time. The idea of “escaping” is for fun only. “Escaping” only means that you’ve beat the game, which is all an escape room is at the end of the day–a game.

Who will enjoy escape rooms?

Escape rooms are great team-building activities and are great for date night or family outings. The goal is to have an immersive, fun, and somewhat challenging experience together that you will talk about long after the escape.

Don’t worry about prior knowledge–you won’t need that. And don’t worry about looking or feeling stupid. The puzzles are challenging, but solvable. The more rooms you tackle, the better you’ll get!

If you have questions about any of our rooms or want to know more about specific rooms, please email us at [email protected] or give us a call. We will be happy to create a special memory for you and your friends and family!